An article posted to the Israel Defense Forces blog over Passover has been denounced in the Arab media. The article was about a young woman, Dina Ovadia, who had been born and raised in Egypt without knowing she was Jewish and her journey to Israel where she is now in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Her family kept her Jewish identity from her in fear of reprisal. Her family was later kicked out of Egypt when it was discovered that they had a connection to a member of the IDF.
In her story she recounted when her home was invaded and her family was told they had “a few days to get out of the country, and that in the meantime they could not leave their home. They threatened that if the children went to school, they would be kidnapped.” She recalls “Salafists would encircle the house in their vehicles, shooting into the air. That month even the school didn’t call. I slept with my mother – I was terribly afraid. My father told me that they are just thieves despite the fact that they didn’t take anything. ‘Jew’ was really a kind of swear word, he said; but I couldn’t believe him.”
Dina works in the Spokesperson’s Unit at the IMF. She believes her job “is about getting the Arab world to truly accept her.” For example, in Operation Pillar of Defense, she believes they had a great impact because they wrote on the various platforms that the IDF doesn’t want to harm civilians and “there were people in the Arab world who listened and were convinced. We get comments and messages from across the Arab world; from Saudi Arabia, from Egypt, and from further afield.”
Despite some opinions changing in the Arab world, Rashid Shaheen, who writes for the Arabic Media Internet Network, expressed his intolerant view of the article, denouncing it completely. He called the article a “lie” and as “fake as Anne Frank”. “Not only is it a lie, he states, but it is another Zionist lie like the lie of the diary of Anne Frank, which, he claims – quoting Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy – was written in ballpoint pen before such pens were invented.”
The Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) is an independent Palestinian non-governmental organization whose “vision”, according to their website, is “a free Palestinian media that informs the public and promotes democracy and acceptability.” Their website also says they strive for
1. a Palestinian media that supports human rights, social justice, civil society and local sustainable development
2. a politically engaged Palestinian youth that uses social media to convey its message
3. institutional, policy and legal reforms that support greater freedom and independence of the Palestinian media
4. a stronger role of the local media and citizen journalists supporting freedom of expression, local development, and civil society
The fact that an organization striving for media that “promotes democracy and acceptability” “social justice” and “civil society” would post such anti-Semitic beliefs shows that media in the Arab world has and will continue to expose truths behind attitudes in politics of the Arab world and moreover, conflict.